2020-04-22 Circular E.10.2020-NOTICIAS EUROLAB AISBL II





Fecha: 22 de abril de 2020

Estimados asociados de EUROLAB-España,

Enviamos un listado de noticias recopiladas por EUROLAB AISBL, con sus correspondientes links para ampliar información, por si fueran de vuestro interés.

COVID-19: EU institutions take action to procure life-saving medical equipment

Parliament is working with member states to ensure that the EU can buy ventilators, masks and other medical equipment to be put at the disposal of hospitals across the EU.

Last week, the Commission set up a scheme to gather medical equipment (through rescEU) so that the necessary supplies to combat COVID-19 can quickly get to member states facing shortages of equipment. This equipment is needed to treat infected patients, protect health care workers and help slow down the spread of the virus. Parliament is working with member states to swiftly approve 40 out of 50 million EUR for intensive care medical equipment such as ventilators and personal protective equipment, such as reusable masks. Member states are also joining forces under the Joint Procurement Agreement to buy personal protective equipment, respiratory ventilators and items necessary for coronavirus testing. Working together in this way will give them a stronger position on the world market.

Source: European Parliament.


Interview with BBC News, where South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha emphasized the importance of testing and good laboratory practices, which have been key factors in Korea's successful battle against the Corona virus epidemic.



Coronavirus: Commission presents practical guidance to ensure continuous flow of goods across EU via green lanes

The Commission issued new practical advice on how to implement its Guidelines for border management, in order to keep freight moving across the EU during the current pandemic. To ensure that EU-wide supply chains continue to operate, Member States are requested to designate, without delay, all the relevant internal border-crossing points on the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) as ‘green lane' border crossings. The green lane border crossings should be open to all freight vehicles, whatever goods they are carrying. Crossing the border, including any checks and health screening, should not take more than 15 minutes.

Source: European Commission.


COVID-19: Parliament approves crucial EU support measures: As part of the EU’s joint response to the COVID-19 outbreak, MEPs almost unanimously adopted three urgent proposals in an extraordinary plenary session, on Thursday. The urgent measures to help people and businesses tackle the crisis were voted on in plenary less than two weeks after the Commission tabled its proposals.

The approved proposals are:

The Corona Response Investment Initiative. These measures are meant to channel €37 billion from available EU funds as soon as possible to citizens, regions and countries hit the hardest by the Coronavirus pandemic. The funds will be directed towards healthcare systems, SMEs, labour markets and other vulnerable parts of EU member states’ economies. The proposal was adopted with 683 votes in favour, 1 against and 4 abstentions.

The extension of the EU Solidarity Fund to cover public health emergencies. The measures will make up to €800 million available for European countries in 2020. Operations eligible under the Fund will be extended to include support in a major public health emergency, including medical assistance, as well as measures to prevent, monitor or control the spread of diseases. The proposal was adopted with 671 votes in favour, 3 against and 14 abstentions.

Temporarily suspending EU rules on airport slots. This will stop air carriers from operating empty flights during the pandemic. The temporary suspension means that airlines are not obliged to use their planned take-off and landing slots to keep them in the next corresponding season. The 'use it or lose it' rule will be waived for the whole summer season, from 29 March until 24 October 2020. The proposal was adopted with 686 votes in favour, no votes against and 2 abstentions.

Source: European Parliament.


In fight against coronavirus, governments embrace surveillance: European countries are hollowing out hard-fought privacy standards as they embrace tech solutions to fight the coronavirus.

Chinese-style surveillance is coming to a neighbourhood near you.

From drones barking orders at park-goers to tracing people's movements through cell phones, Western governments are rushing to embrace sophisticated surveillance tools that would have been unthinkable just a few weeks ago. In the European Union, home to the world's strictest privacy regimen, leaders have taken the unprecedented step of asking telecoms companies to hand over mobile phone data so they can track population movements and try to stop the spread.

Source: Politico.


Coronavirus crisis shows Big Tech for what it is — a 21st century public utility: It makes sense to police Google, Facebook and Amazon in the same way as electricity and water companies.

When Giuseppe Conte, the Italian prime minister, wanted to address the nation about the latest measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, he didn't turn to the country's national broadcaster. He streamed it live on Facebook. The World Health Organization created a dedicated information hotline on WhatsApp, the encrypted messenger. Google filled people's search results with government advice for the coronavirus as if it were a public service announcement. The British government reportedly asked Amazon to help deliver emergency medical supplies through its nationwide logistics network. In the age of coronavirus, tech companies are now a vital part of how governments worldwide are responding to the crisis. But their role is even more far-reaching: Big Tech has become a public utility, the de facto highway of 21st century life.

Source: Politico


EU carbon market ‘the first victim’ as electricity demand collapses

Every country in Europe has seen electricity demand decrease by 2 to 7% week-on-week as coronavirus-related confinement measures were enforced, according to new research by Ember, a climate think tank. Some analysts are now calling for urgent measures to prevent the EU carbon market from collapsing. The steepest fall occurred in Italy, the first EU country to introduce confinement measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak, Ember said in a new study, released on Monday (23 March). Italy, Spain and probably France show twice the impact of any other country, according to Dave Jones, an electricity analyst at Ember. UK electricity demand has been the least impacted so far, he said, due to the government’s late response to the coronavirus crisis.

Source: Euractiv


Farmers warn of far-reaching COVID-19 effects on EU agriculture

A new report from farmers’ association COPA-COGECA outlines the multi-faceted ways in which COVID-19 is leaving its mark on the agricultural sector, from flower growers to meat producers. The report, which was presented on Wednesday (25 March) at the AGRIFISH Council,  represents a non-exhaustive compilation of contributions from national member organisations across the EU.

The report analyses each agricultural sector in turn, singling out the nursery stock, flower and bedding plant sector as one of the hardest-hard, with current sales below average by at least 60-70%.

The meat sector is also facing multiple coronavirus-linked challenge and insists that consumption has “dramatically decreased” due to foodservice closures, such as hotels, restaurants and catering.

Although the dairy market has remained relatively calm, COPA-COGECA detected several signs of potential disturbance, as processors have lost some of the processing channels and are forced to find alternative markets outlets, which has been increasingly difficult.

Source: Euractiv.


EU farm chief: Post-coronavirus recovery should be green and sustainable

The Green Deal remains a flagship policy of the von der Leyen Commission and the EU should aim for a post-COVID-19 recovery that is green and sustainable, Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski told EURACTIV.com in an exclusive interview.

Source: Euractiv


How biofuels enter the race against the coronavirus pandemic

For 2020, hand sanitisers and disinfectants are what new iPhones and electric vehicles were for 2019. So, who are the Apples and Teslas of ethyl alcohol, asks Zoltán Szabó and explains how a climate solution is being turned into health assistance. Two billion kilos of alcohol is the “normal” size of the European alcohol market, but Europe actually has a reserve production capacity of an additional 6 billion kilos thanks to Europe’s fuel ethanol plants, which are working literally around the clock to tackle the current crisis. They are getting huge amounts of ethanol to hospitals, nursing homes, power production facilities, government offices and other types of social institutions. They are, almost overnight, optimising recipes for effective hand sanitisers (which should contain 80% alcohol) and then just making the stuff and getting it out to the public. The modern ethanol industry, delivering lifesaving solutions today, exists only thanks to Europe’s biofuel policies over the past 17 years. Ethanol is the most prominent biofuel in the world, but it is also a critical ingredient for pharmaceuticals, bio-plastics, bio-chemicals, food and many other necessities. 2020 is not even the first time that ethanol, despite having sometimes been misdescribed by urban idealistic campaigners, emerges as a solution and plays a vital role in a crisis.

Source: Euractiv.

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Recibid un cordial y afectuoso saludo,

Elena García Hernanz

Secretaria Administrativa de EUROLAB-España